The AN-14 Pchelka (Little Bee) was developed in the late 1950s for service in Aeroflot's regional lines. It was a small STOL design used primarily at undeveloped airstrips in the frontiers of the USSR. AN-14s flew anything that would fit inside anywhere it needed to go. It was a very popular aircraft with its crews, being very stable, dependable and easy to fly. Despite these advantages, it was unable to replace the AN-2 as it was designed to. 332 Pchelkas had left the factory when production ended in 1972.
This is definitely an A-model kit. The tiny parts are a little rough, and will need to be cleaned up before assembly but much less than previous A-model offerings. Some of the smaller parts are decidedly out of scale, a limitation of the plastic. This kit does not include A-model's usual fret of etched parts, making it a little simpler than the preceeding AN-2. The panel lines are finely engraved and match up very nicely. In 1/144 this is a very small model.
The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. The cabin windows are open, with clear parts provided for them. The cockpit windows are provided in two halves similar to Hasegawa's Tracker. Gluing them together will be slightly tricky due to their small size. The panel lines are nicely engraved and match up well. A fairly complete cockpit is provided, with floor, bulkhead,seats and instrument panel. I don't know how much will be visible through the thick and distorting windows. By contrast, nothing is provided for the passenger cabin. Little will be visible through the tiny windows. Paint the interior black to prevent it looking toy-like. The kit will need 2.4g of nose weight but there is little room to fit it in. Perhaps it could be disguised as some freight crates in the cabin. The rear freight doors are moulded shut.
The wing is a one piece moulding that sits on top of an opening in the fuselage. Dry fitting and tweaking will be needed to ensure it fits squarely.
The tailplane is another one piece moulding, completed with two fin/rudder mouldings that attach to each end.
The engines are two faces with some cylinder detail visible. The upper half of the nacelle is moulded into the wing, and the lower half seperate. Once again dryfitting and tweaking will be required. One piece 3-bladed propellers attach to the engine faces. It is difficult to determine wich side of the propeller is the hub and which is the shaft, but I suspect the longer bit is the shaft.
The landing gear struts and wheels are each moulded as one piece. The main struts fit onto the ends of a stub wing that mounts to the lower fuselage. The modeller is advised to tweak the fit in the same manner as was done with the wings to ensure everything is square. A wing strut mounts to each end of the stub wing, so it is vital that everything is in allignment in order for the struts to fit properly. There is a pair of secondary struts that must be fabricated from stretched sprue or 0.3mm rod.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it will look like a Pchelka.
Decals and markings
The decal sheet is in A-model's typical matte finish and offers two different An-14s from Aeroflot's Polar Directorate, sporting the distinctive red cheatlines and trim. One aircraft is from the 1960s and the other after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. There is very little difference between them apart from the registrations and flags. There are sufficient decals to complete two aircraft.
The real thingCCCP-81556
having seen better days. The 1990s option is very similar, lacking the black trim above the cheatline and having white rather than grey fins. It's shown on the box top.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE